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Tea, anyone?

April 4, 2011

When Hubby bid on a basket of fancy loose tea kits at a charity auction, I hoped someone would outbid him. Confession: I felt a bit annoyed. Didn’t he know we were a cheap, do-it-quick-tea-bag kind of family, not a china-cup-of-expensive-tea kind of family? And who did he think was going to wash up all that fancy tea stuff? Me?

As fate would have it, Hubby’s low bid won. A basket of tea canisters with infuser lids was soon sitting on the kitchen counter.

That week an education professor was our supper guest, and we decided to serve our new tea. It didn’t occur to any of us that we needed to remove the lids from the infusers and we had a mess and a big laugh at our IQs before we enjoyed the first of many cups of tea.

Soon sharing a cup of tea became a way of life for us. We’ve shared our tea with many friends and family members young and old, sometimes in china cups or mugs. Even kids who’ve never seen loose tea like to try the teas, which have names like Zen and Calm and Mambo.

Somehow conversation is different over a slow cup of steeped loose leaf tea. Sometimes tea is the topic because we’ve experimented with different kinds of tea. Sometimes tea ceremonies is the topic, like the Chinese ceremony we attended. There is something comfortable and intimate and meditative about sharing a cup of tea no matter what the topic.

Sometimes when we drink a cup of tea, I think of our friend Brad. Once when he and his family visited for the weekend, we served tea in china cups for everyone, even his two daughters and our son, who were all in elementary school.  Brad told us what he’d read about the tea ceremonies at Buckingham Palace, sticking out his pinky dramatically as he sipped tea to amuse his daughters. Who’d have thought a farmer would be so interested in tea? That was Brad’s last cup of tea. He was killed in a car accident on his way home from our house the next day. But his gusto for our tea ceremony, his humor and his keen interest in the topic at hand were so typical of Brad that I cherish this memory.

Often when it seems Hubby and I haven’t had enough “How was your day?” moments–the kind of moments that cement a friendship in marriage–Hubby or I will ask: “Do you want a cup of tea?” Then the asker turns on the electric tea pot and pulls out the china mugs and makes tea, and we have a cupa’ and a chat. Often when Son was studying at night, I’d bring him a cup of tea and set it next to the computer, which always brought a “Hey, thanks, Mom!” as if I’d never done it before.

Initially I groused a bit about the mess involved with loose tea. Hand washing the infusers and lids and stacking them along the sink to dry seemed like a waste of time. But I soon developed a ritual about that, too, and found myself smiling as I washed.

Say, anyone want a cup of tea?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Vern Smith permalink
    April 5, 2011 3:09 am

    This kinda dates me, I drank lots of tea as a teenager. All made from loose tea made in Mother’s fancy porcelain teapot (was the only fancy thing she owned) . Really liked it. Never heard of such a thing as a tea bag until several years after I was married.

  2. Carolyn permalink
    April 13, 2011 1:11 pm

    Julie, you really made me miss my favorite loose leaf tea, which I haven’t had in a long time because I haven’t been up to Anoka to buy it. It’s called Maple Cream and it’s divine! I’d love to have a cup of tea with you someday soon.

    • Gwen permalink
      February 14, 2012 7:00 am

      I am in NM not MN, so I am going to google Maple Cream tea and hope to find it. I hope to enjoy a cup soon. Thanks

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